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 Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker

Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker

Birth
Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 2 Sep 1916 (aged 73)
Schwenksville, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 19202 · View Source
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Governor of Pennsylvania. A member of the Republican Party, he served as Pennsylvania's 23rd governor for one term from January 1903 to January 1907. The son of a doctor, he received his education at the Grovemont Seminary at Phoenixville and at the West Philadelphia Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shortly before the Battle of Gettysburg of the American Civil War, he enlisted as a private in Company F of the 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia. He fought in the skirmish at Witmer Farm, north of Gettysburg on June 26, 1863, an action that saw his newly recruited regiment retreat to Harrisburg when confronted by Confederate General Robert E. Lee's veteran Virginia cavalry. He left the emergency militia in late July 1863 and resumed his education. After studying law at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, he was admitted to the bar and opened his own law practice in 1866. In 1868 he was elected president of the Law Academy of Philadelphia. From 1876 until 1888 he served as the reporter-in-chief for the Court of Common Pleas No. 3. In 1889 he was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas No. 2 and was elected for two terms of 10 years each, acting for several years (1896-1902) as president judge of that court. In 1902 he ran for governor on the Republican ticket and defeated the Democratic challenger Robert Pattison, who was seeking a third nonconsecutive term as governor. During his term in office he signed into law the Child Labor Act of 1905, setting a minimum age and standard for young workers. He also passed the Salus-Grady Bill, or the Newspaper Libel Act of 1903 that immediately drew vicious attacks in the press (The law was repealed in 1907 after he left office.). He created the Pennsylvania State Police and the State Museum, and oversaw the completion of the new state capitol building. In 1906 he vetoed what would have been the first compulsory sterilization law in the US. Upon leaving office, he opened a law office in Philadelphia. A keen interest in history, he became president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and wrote extensively. He was also a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and held positions of honor in various German and Netherlandish societies. Among his publications was a history of the Phoenixville area, "Annals of Phoenixville and Its Vicinity: From the Settlement to the Year 1871." In 1915 he was appointed chairman of the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania and held it until his death. He died at the age of 73. Pennypacker Hall at the Pennsylvania State University Park campus is named in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 28 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19202
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (9 Apr 1843–2 Sep 1916), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19202, citing Morris Cemetery, Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .